Goal Setting, Taking Notes

Rookie Racer Zeke here getting ready to tackle my first complete season of any form of motorsport. Dipped my toes in the karting world in late spring 2017 and am now full of plans and potential. (Or so I have heard of the latter)

I will be running in the Pro-Am series at PGP Motorsports Park every other Saturday and the Wednesday night mini league series.

I will also be taking part in a couple endurance races: one while the months still provide heat and the ever looming rain race for much needed experience…:face_with_thermometer::wind_face::cyclone::checkered_flag:
My goals-

  1. Keep karting Fun
  2. Plan to succeed by setting proper expectations
  3. Ingratiate myself into the racing community
  4. Finish the race with a “succcess” in my strategy column
  5. Be a fountain of questions and learn from all mistakes

Wishing everyone well on the racing seasons you are involved in!!!

Z.Y. Khali


Welcome. it’s an exciting world to be a part of. Great location too. You have very good goals. Add some measurable metrics and timelines to those goals and track the progress. Focusing on only 1 or 2 might also be beneficial. #keepkartingfun


so without a data logger ive been scripting it old school as far as lap time goals and new braking thresholds at certain turns. Planning goals for each session is truly a beneficial way for me to go about any seat time.


This has been my style since high school when approaching new subjects and even getting acquainted with organization. (meaning multiple note books)


@RVINBOW_Racing690: If you’re open to trying something out, remove the pressure of defining “Gain X Positions by the end of Turn/Lap X”. It’s unnecessary pressure to put on yourself. In fact, it might lead you to take unnecessary risks just because of the pressure (speaking from experience). If you don’t have a “top 5 kart” for example, setting a target of fight for podium is an unrealistic goal. You can certainly luck into the place, and attempt to pressure one or 2 guys ahead of you.

Things you can’t control are “circumstance”. Someone has a better start than you. Someone else makes a gear change that gives them a better run into T1, etc. Whenever possible, we must try to avoid concerning ourselves with circumstance.

You still want the goals to be measurable, and they certainly are. I wish I listed mine in a similar way when I started racing. We’re all different, so you may truly have the propensity to deliver on the entire list; however, here’s a suggestion. If you have the opportunity to run 2 races, try 2 approaches.

  1. Your current list.
  2. All Race sessions: Super Heat Tires
    • Focus on clean start.
    • Strategy: Be consistent within 0.Xs of Y laptime.
    • Break them w/ consistency: Turns A & B are most inconsistent. Decide on the braking and turn in points, and make a minor adjustment if losing time to karts behind. Only adjust it X times, and stick with the one that felt the best. Minimize the time loss/variation to [0.Xs] in that sector.
    • Breath & Connect the Apexes.

You may be surprised to find which one has the bigger impact. No matter what happens with the start, don’t mull over it. Look forward. Clear your mind and focus on limited goals. Multiple strategies are excellent. Just keep them relatively close so your core focus remains the same and you only need to make 1 or 2 adjustments.

Let me know what you think or if you’ve tried this before


That is much more structured in terms of factors that I can control and track. This new strategy should bring much ease to my data logging and track breakdowns for turn in/Apex/track out and assessing competition as well. I will take that model and drawn one up for my next test/practice seat time.

As I have been a victim of bad starts more often than not I have held onto those going into the next heat and in no way had it helped me to improve. So to hear someone suggest what you have brings comfort. I’m reminded of how circumstantial racing is and that my best option is to plan and perform to the best of abilities.

Thank you so much for your assistance and support.


Apologies for the late reply

Thinking about starts… We have rolling starts and I’m terrible. It’s nose to tail bumping and I get left by the karts in front of me most times. Its an art I definitely need to work on.

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I do rolling starts in my league as well and only have seen the grid up start in shifter class (and boy for a it give me chills). I have never broken this down piece by piece and I think going about the start in a systematic way may be beneficial.

Again we are aware that there are multiple factors we cannot control i.e.; other racers reaction times; where they position their kart; at exactly what moment the flag will drop; or when and where the inevitable spin out will occur-

With that said I think we can focus on what we can control. Our reaction time and awareness of location of flag holder. Getting the revs of the kart up and keeping them in a prime range. Exercises for reaction times can be as simple as getting a tennis ball for your accelerator foot and your laptop or phone for a YouTube video of a race starting and just practice getting the message from your eyes to your brain to your foot.

Aside from that I think it would be good to watch a few other heats to see how different level drivers start from different spots on the grid. Pay close attention to the aggression used by quality racers in the back and those with less skill. Repeat this for the mod field and the front guys. Pay attention to their warm up laps.

Check online about how tire pressure how can help with acceleration as well. Perhaps you may gain a launch advantage.

I will try to take notes and pay attention to similar factors when at the track next so that I can begin to master my starts as well.

Late post

Going into practice my main focus was on these 3 areas:

  2. Introduce and Improve threshold braking skill
  3. Breathing and consistency

Aug 30 Practice went amazingly well after beo ng out of the kart for an entire month.
Was about a half second off of the pace I set for myself on paper. (I predicted I wouldn’t lose a step… high hopes and mental stimulation) that qualified me 10th out of 17th and I held that position thru the entirety of the next heat as I was trying every new technique for braking and turn in points in sector 2. So not to shabby in my humble opinion to have a less responsive kart and losing .4s due to that and yet not losing a single position.

Leading into each heat I had created a strategy that shifted my mindset to goals which were attainable. I had seen my race go to the gutter 2x simply due to fighting for a victory on L1 T1.

My strategy was simple

Strat 1: starting on first two rows of grid

  • push for single position gain @ T1
  • do not lose position on L1

Strat 2: starting row 3 or worse

  • no loss of position in T1
  • Establish position thru lap 1and reel in competition.

In the final heat I made sure to get proper heat into my tires leading up to the start. I was able to make up 2 positions on the first lap by way of a spin out in the first corner and was instantly battling it out with 7th place into T4. I got past him into the final sector and began clicking off consistent laps.

At lap 7 I made a blunder in the middle sector trying to carry to much speed and lost on the drive out causing my to lose 7th spot. He and I were running quite odd rival lap times.

On lap 8 there was another spin out in the first sector from a top 5 racer which then elevated our battle status to that of p6. I then fired in the two best laps of the day attempting to get into proper position to pass in sector 3 on L9. Yet like the storybook ending that only karting could provide a lapped racer was used in a beautiful way to just edge me out in the final turn. Though I got past the traffic BETWIXT the same two corners as P6 it was just enough to edge me out.

All in all karting was kept fun and I am so pleased to be able to share it with those who share my newest and truest passion!!!


20170913_172620So this will be the new Session Assessment sheet I’ll be using for the entirety of this winter Pro-Am series. I have taken your model and applied it almost in full. It was concise and applicable to all forms of track days


I genuinely feel that using this model will allow me to see my driving style and it’s strengths on paper and almost provide a potential overlay for projected performance at new tracks with similar corner complexes or factors I have faced, tested thoroughly on and revamped or solidified my form in that area. All in all kart pulse is sure to claim victories on many fronts soon.

-Z.Y. Khali

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Nice write up about your last event. Keep working on it. We all are.

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Will do. Just finished Winter series goal setting

So I’ve been karting and I’ve been mindmapping, but at different stages in my life. Recently got to the track and once I started thinking about the day… I decided to throw my thoughts into a mind map in mindmeister

Check it out. It could be a neat way to build a template with triggers of things to think of and note…


Here’s a link to the map: https://www.mindmeister.com/preview/976019414/skc-october-20th-debrief

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Thanks for sharing that, James. I’m inclined to try your template in the near future, it can’t hurt.

My thoughts on mind maps… they require significantly more mental engagement than standard lists. This can be a good thing for the right mind. In times past when I’ve used mind maps for any form of analysis or review, I still needed to create a separate decision tree from the core of findings to focus the data into easily accessible knowledge. I like your “Things to Try” branch. At first glance, I know my brain would struggle with that though, but still worth a try. I feel like I’d be throwing a bunch of ideas out to solve even tertiary issues unrelated to the actual observations.

And not to get caught up in the notes shared, but a couple of things jump to mind based on what you shared. Not enough info here to truly make comments, but I’m engaged now. haha.

  1. Don’t overtune a kart on “pretty smoked on front” tires. :slight_smile:
  2. Seem to have push in slow-medium left handers. If this is a consistent behaviour on an anti-clockwise track, check pressures and tire temp to see what the gap is from left to right.
  3. Drive to the limit of the tire. Check your inputs on exits unto the straights. Might be punching throttle to cause oversteer unless rears are just as shot.

Let me know if these make any sense or if I’ve missed the mark completely.

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Being in the seat for 20laps in four years, I think it was more about the process rather than specifics for me. But I think your points are valid. This kart (handmedown) has a lot of variables on it in terms of front geometry and the fact that it was repaired after it hit a tyre wall at 80MPH in 2011.

Here’s a vid.

Wow, no gloves. Guess I was in a rush.

That’s a neat track. On that specific lap, managing trail braking at T3 might help. And at T6, a couple of sudden jerks on the wheel likely unsettled the kart. I think you’ll have that cleaned up on your own in no time.